Explore the most popular forest trails in Nantahala National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

took a logging road to reach the falls, hard to find. rock fall made the falls small and hard to see.

What a wonderful hike for our anniversary!

Gorgeous river and waterfalls. Great swimming holes at the base of the initial decent. However this trail does not allow camping due to whitewater corridor protection (the reason for the 3 star rating). However we hiked to Thompson river, 2.7 miles past the turnaround. This was a spectacular 4 star hike. Next time we will start at Bad creek parking to get to Thompson river. (A lot of ticks in June!)

Did this trail six days ago and we decided to turn around close to mile 3 because the trail was so over grown with slippery run offs due to the recent rains. It is a nice forest hike and the dogs enjoyed the portion we did with plenty of of water along the way. A few days later we hiked to the Wesser fire tower via the App trail to take in the view.

Nice view at the pulpit but very hot there so we did not stay long. Brought our two dogs. Plenty of water along the way for them to sip & cool down. Our 15 year old who is not an avid hiker enjoyed this hike.

Did this as a day hike out and back with our dog. Great view at the bald. Saw no hikers on our way up and one small group when we got to the bald. A few more on our way back. Can get hot bring plenty of water. Challenging hike but worth it.

One of my favorites when all of the wildflowers are in bloom.

Beautiful view with some interesting history!

very nice trail and the views are amazing!

7 days ago

Beautiful short hike ending at the waterfall! So many ferns and got to see a bunch of salamanders at the base of the falls. We wish we would have brought our lunch out there to eat and spend more time by the waterfall.

Easy uphill hike starting from Wayah Rd following the AT with beautiful views at the top! A few cute creek crossings and lots of ferns and wildflowers along the trail.

Great trail. Mostly on the AT with a spur up to Silar Bald and 360 degree views at the peak. Enjoyed it with the kids and it was very appropriate for the 8-18 Year olds.

The hike itself is easy and the views are stunning especially in fall. However the forest service trail up took a long time and was a bit harrowing at sections. I would have rather hiked longer and avoided that. Won’t be back.

Stunning views from fields of wild flowers!

Great trail even after it rained for 4 straight days. Listed as moderate but isn’t any worse then the easy trails. Right side of the lower loop is currently closed due to all the rain wiping out a section of steps leading back to the parking lot from the upper section of the lower loop. We ignored signs but came upon workers resigning the steps so decided to turn back and go around. Lot of nice trail we would’ve missed tho had we not gone down. Highly recommend this trail

Really awesome hike! Falls are incredible! Highly recommended!

Quick and easy hike with some good views.

10 days ago

An easy walk to a very scenic waterfall. I want to take my grandkids.

10 days ago

I have hiked this trail a few times and almost any trail that has a waterfall at the end gets a great rating from me. I went past the base of the falls as another reviewer posted but once upon the downed trees and such turned around. It is uphill all the way back and there are a lot of tree roots underfoot so watch your step. Have seen people doing it in flip flops. Crazy!

If the trail is marked and a parking area exists, we could not find them. We parked in a nearby camping site right by the hairpin curve that was empty. We then walked down the gravel road a few hundred yards and luckily found a rarely traveled foot path leading straight down to the falls. We found it based on the roar of the falls as we started the decent pretty much right above the falls. At the end it was pretty hairy to navigate the brush, but my family of 4 made it. I would not recommend the trail we used for kids younger than 8 or 10, and even then only if they are fit and adventurous. We all have plenty of scrapes. That said, the falls are really great and I’ll definitely go back (although my wife won’t). There may be an actual trail to find, but even the small goat path we used works. Be sure to watch where you exit at the falls and so you can find the path when you want to ascend back up. Tons of brush and we got off in the wrong direction and had to backtrack just a bit to get on the right path. Stunning scenery though.

Loved this hike! Park just off the side of the road where the sign says Bartram Trail. The trail to Scaly that is via Hickory Nut has you drive up a gravel road. This was much easier! My kids and I really enjoyed this hike. We loved being in a canopy of trees and felt like we were in an enchanted forest. Gorgeous views at the end to boot!!

We did this after hiking Scaly Mountain so my review maybe slightly flawed by the fact that my kids had had enough by this point.
Overall, it's a nice hike but I was a little irritated that I continued on the trail past the pool at the bottom for another half a mile, climbing over downed trees, only to be told by a group coming in the opposite direction that there was nothing down there except a campground. Don't hike past the post that has the word "falls" etched into it.

Great hike awesome falls!

Beautiful falls! Great hike.

We hiked this trail days after a tremendous amount of rain fell in the area. There were several stream crossings but easily passable. Rainbow Falls was simply amazing with the enormous amount of water passing over the ledge. The spray from the falls was so thick I may as well been standing under the falls. Turtleback Falls is another can't miss. The trail is well maintained and the surroundings are unsurprisingly beautiful. Just go.

Beautiful view of tallest falls in North America

14 days ago


Great trail to bike. The red trail was a little muddy yesterday afternoon

15 days ago

My review is from the perspective of an amateur landscape photographer.

The hike is easy, short, paved and ADA accessible.

But it's disappointing if your goal is landscape photography. At the end of the trail is a viewing platform in the trees with a limited view of the mountains beyond. There's really only one composition as the platform is small and tress are beginning to crowd out the view. A better option is to walk west along the parkway for about 100 yards from the parking lot. You'll get a better view unobstructed by trees and have more composition options.

Unless you have the need to stretch your legs, I'd skip this location and spend your limited photography time at other locations.

16 days ago

We did this trail this on June 3. It's a beautiful walk along the Chattooga river. I love this river and enjoy being in this area. Unfortunately, there is a lot of brush on the river side of the river so you can't see the river the whole time but there are definitely places to get to the river and enjoy the view. I didn't feel the trail was strenuous but you will be tired when you get back to the car. I expect the view may be better in cooler weather. Never the less, I enjoyed the hike very much. We did find Ellicott Rock without much trouble. Use the recordings logged on this page and it will take you right to the spot. The water was up a good two feet while we were there. When you get to the spot on the trail the rock will be directly below you (heading north it will be on your left) at the water's edge. It was partially submerged when we were there so we didn't climb down to it. The water was moving a little too fast for comfort. The pink ribbon marking the spot is not there but there were several items tied in the overhanging trees marking the spot. This is a very good walk and took us over 4 hours. You can park in the parking area at Burrells Ford or you can drive a bit further down the road to the trailhead and park on the side of the road. The foot-traffic was light particularly after the first two miles. This place is crawling with critters. We saw 4 snakes (2 Ring Necks, 1 Rat Snake and 1 Copperhead), lots of lizards, snails, butterflies, beautiful flowers, a gazillion millipedes and so on. Your feet WILL get wet and muddy. as there are several water crossings. On a hot day it is a much appreciated cool-off though. We went through over 3 liters of water on this day. Luckily we brought our Sawyer squeeze-type system and didn't have to carry so much water weight. There were several beautiful areas around to take a snack, a dip or rest break. The river is amazing. The trail was not really marked - no blazes but it was easy to follow. There were only a time or two where we took 10 seconds or so to figure out where the trail cut through a large open area. There are a lot of dead and down trees on this trail. Some old and some freshly fallen. Some have fallen from the trail taking a chunk of the trail with it. Some areas are very rooty and you have to watch your footing. In places the bushes crowd the trail making for a tight walk. There were gnats galore and lots of mosquitoes so bring your bug repellent if you are bothered by them. I brought a small towel and ended up fanning my head the whole time to keep the mosquitoes out of my face and the gnats out of my nose and mouth. I would definitely do this hike again.

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